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BudgIT Foundation, a civic-tech organization leading the advocacy for transparency and accountability in public finance in Nigeria, has raised concerns over critical issues on the 2022 proposed budget.

BudgIT raised concerns over the complete omission of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, capital budget from the overall budget, the continuous unrealistic revenue projections, soaring year-on-year debt burden and weak accountability structure, among others.

These concerns were raised by the organization’s Chief Executive Officer, Gabriel Okeowo, in a statement signed by the body’s Communication Associate, Iyanu Fatoba.

According to Fatoba, the omission of NDDC’s entire capital budget allocation from the proposed 2022 budget and public scrutiny is a source of concern, especially given the scale of alleged corruption and diversion of public funds that has afflicted the federal agency since its inception.

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Fatoba said: “NDDC receives an average of N198.7 billion per year from the operating budgets of oil companies (between 2016 and 2018) in addition to the annual Statutory Transfers it receives from the federal government (the latter which is projected to be N98.7bn in the 2022 budget).

“The list of new and ongoing projects to be embarked upon by NDDC with this estimated N198.7bn in the year 2022 is glaringly missing from the 2,168-page 2022 FG budget details document and the 2022 Appropriations Bill sent to the National Assembly.”

The organization also called for cautious optimism, especially as the proposed 2022 spending plan comes with a N6.26tn deficit, 80% of which would be borrowed.

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This is particularly problematic, seeing that FG has recorded a significant surge in its debt burden in the last six years while noting that debt servicing wiped off over 90% of FG’s total revenue in recent times.

Commenting on the situation, Mr Okeowo said, “The size of FG’s new borrowing plans in 2022 is a serious cause for concern, especially as the FG spent over 90% of all its revenue in servicing old debts between January 2020 and June 2021. Also, FG’s 2022 deficit of N6.26 trillion represents 3.39% of Nigeria’s GDP, which is above the 3% threshold set in Section 12(1) of the 2007 Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).”

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